3rd Annual 100s in the Hills

After months of emails, texts and conference calls with the 3 other Co-Directors, it was finally time to hit the road. Bandit and I had the Cruiser and trailer packed up and we were off for the 3rd Annual 100s in the Hills event. Some of you might remember a few years ago a trip we took to the San Juans to camp and wheel with some friends. Well, this small excursion has grown significantly in the past three years to a nationally recognized event. This year we had almost 30 vehicles from all over the country, 65 people in attendance and twenty-three sponsors. Located in a remote area where everyone is to be self sufficient, we require all participants to practice the leave no trace principles. This event takes quite a bit of logistics and planning, which was completely worthwhile. No one left disappointed.

Unfortunately Kristy was out of town on business, but she is sure to attend next year. I wrote an article that was published in the November/December issue of Toyota Trails magazine on this years event. Please click below for the online edition of the article page 19:

Toyota Trails Nov/Dec 3013

Below are more pictures and a link to the 100s in the Hills Facebook page:

Facebook/100s in the Hills

Day #1: Clear Lake family fun run

Day #2: Ophir Pass & Imogene Pass

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Day #3: Black Bear Pass

Day #3 continued, Directors run back to camp and night run:

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Final Day – Cruise the San Juans

Day 3 – Black Bear Pass and Bridal Veil Falls

We awoke early to pack up camp and then headed out to conquer one of the most challenging and “puckering” trails of the weekend.   The trail entrance to Black Back Pass was just a short drive from our campsite.  Once again the scenery did not disappoint…. The roadsides were covered with wildflowers, including the white and lavender Columbine which is Colorado’s state flower.  We also passed under cables still attached to the mountain sides.  The miners used the cables to transport themselves and supplies to the other side.  After reaching the summit at 12,840 feet, we stopped for photos with an amazing Rocky Mountain background. 

The descent was made up of a series of switchbacks which overlook the town of Telluride.  The switch back turns were slightly precarious and required a spotter at most turns (and a tight grip on the inside passenger door handle).  With loose rocks and no room for error, the switchbacks could definitely make one “pucker.”  View this link to see a great picture of the “infamous switchbacks:”  Black Bear Pass Switchbacks

The end of the trail rewarded us with an AMAZING view of Bridal Veil Falls – one of the highest waterfall in Colorado.  It is a site to see with a working house/power plant sitting on top of the 365 feet falls.  With a short ride the rest of the way down the mountain to Telluride, the 1st Annual 100 Series Cruise the San Juan’s came to an end for us and we began the drive back home. 

We are already planning next year’s event,  which promises to have even more Cruisers.  So, if you haven’t yet, go buy a Land Cruiser and we will see you at the camp fire!!

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Day 2 – Cruise the San Juans

Day 2 – The Alpine Loop: Poughkeepsi Gulch, Lake Como, California Pass, Animas Forks; and return to “The Super Secret Trail”

After a good night’s sleep in the roof top tent, we were ready to head out early to see what else the San Juan Mtns had to offer.  Our trusty trail leader, JH1, planned for all to explore the Alpine Loop.  The Loop is about a 65 mile trail through the mountains and provided some challenging trail obstacles.  We started the Loop at Poughkeepsi Gulch – this section of the trail climbed over loose rocks, through streams and led us to the main obstacle – “The Wall.”   Even though Landcruisers are not rock crawlers, they can hold their own.  We all made up “The Wall”, with only one having to be winched up, due to lack of a suspension lift and larger tires.  The scenery up to this point was nothing short of amazing….it is literally something you see “in the movies” and is known as the “Switzerland of America”.

Just a few miles up the rocky road, we stopped for lunch at Lake Como — A turquoise colored lake nestled in the midst of the mountains. Refueled, we headed through California Gulch and ended the Alpine Loop at the ghost town of Animas Forks.

Animas Forks, a small mining town, was first established around 1875 and remained active until the 1920s.  The town reached it’s largest population in 1883 with over 450 residents.  After years of decline, the town rebounded in 1904 with the construction of a giant mill – The Gold Prince Mill, which only stayed open for 6 years.  Today, several of the buildings are still very much intact and are open to the public. 

After visiting the ghost town, we headed into Silverton.  A couple of Landcruiser stragglers had arrived late the previous day, and missed “The Super Secret Trail”, so with some time on our hands, we decided to revisit the trail and share the view.  The second trip did not dissappoint.  With clear skies, we were able to see the green mountains in a totally different “light”. 

Back at camp, we had another night by the camp fire….we could definitely get used to this!

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